Right now... as I type this... I have the biggest smile on my face. In about two hours or so, our door will open and Ed, Brian, Hope and I will be looking at my sister, Meg.
She has been driving ALL day from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania with her suitcase and her pillow - and is staying with us this week!!!! She is leaving her life behind to come help me... get to know Hope... make Brian's LIFE!!!... and keep me company! I am beyond excited. I am extremely flattered and touched. And I am simply very grateful. It's a big sacrifice - and I know it - and I won't take this week for granted. Meg did this once before - when Gavin was an infant - and it meant so much to me. She definitely makes me want to be a better Aunt. (And she's ALWAYS made me want to be a better Mom!) Even though she's lived in New Hampshire for over twenty years, I always say she's "coming home" when she comes our way. I don't think that will ever change.
Speaking of "coming home..."
As promised yesterday, I wanted to share the photos we had taken at our house the day we brought Hope home from the hospital! Many of you probably have heard of "Bella Baby" - the photography service that hospitals often use for newborn photos. Since Hope was in the NICU, I passed on hospital pictures. But I was communicating with a woman named Lauren Kohler Naldzin who happens to be the director of operations at Bella Baby - and she was willing to come to our home. It may seem like a crazy time to have someone over - but I loved it. It added a bit of fanfare and excitement to the homecoming day! And Lauren and I hit it off right away. More on that later.
Here are the beautiful photos she captured that day. I love that I still had quite a pregnant belly in the photos I'm in. I left out a select few that I might end up using for a birth announcement. It was tough to choose favorites - and I think you'll soon see why.
That framed painting on the shelf was made by Brian for Hope's room!
The photo below is one of my favorites. Hope has the most beautiful feet - and toes! And that is Brian's hand holding them.
Brian's hand, once again...
Be still, my heart.
This photo below means a lot to me. I bought that giraffe when I was pregnant with Gavin. It was the first thing I bought for him and it was always one of my favorite little baby toys of his... and then Brian and now, Hope.
These photos of Ed with our daughter take my breath away...
And the adorable grand finale...
That day was very special - to me AND to Lauren. Proving that nothing is by chance, we found out that we had more in common than just a sense of humor and a love of photographs...
Lauren tragically lost her Mother when she was only six year old. She had recently given birth to her youngest child and died in the baby's nursery in the middle of the night. While talking about her Mother during our photo shoot - my OWN Mother realized that she knew her. My Mother and my oldest brother actually went to Lauren's Mother's funeral. Not only that... but her one uncle is one of my brother Mike's closest friends. Her other uncle dated my sister, Meg, for several years and was a huge part of our family's life. He still is! Her other uncle took my sister, Bean, to her prom. Her Grandmother lives in the same retirement community as my Mother. I could go on and on, probably! But it was in that moment that Lauren met my Mom and learned that she was at her funeral that meant a lot to her. She told me she definitely felt there was "angel intervention" that led her to come to our house... and I believe it.
Our experience with Bella Baby - and Lauren, in particular - was wonderful. She was very professional and really listened to what I wanted (and, more importantly, what I didn't want!). I'm so thrilled with how these photos turned out. If you live in my area and want to contact Lauren, you can click HERE to get to her personal website. Or you can contact her about Bella Baby rates, specials and any other questions through her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I try not to have regrets in life... but I really do wish I had gone the professional route when Gavin and Brian were infants. Hope's photos mean so much to me - especially because we're IN some of them!! Thank you, Lauren, for doing such a beautiful job for our family.